HOW TO BIBLE JOURNAL
I want to be really honest right now and start off this blog post being transparent and open.
It would be ‘fake’ of me to say HELLO! And act like everything is okay, when in reality everything is heavy and my emotions are all over the place.
I really do hope everybody reading this blog is okay and is not feeling overwhelmed, because living in the social media world can make you feel like this 95% of the time.
There is a lot going on right now, we are fighting two pandemics (one being Covid-19, and the other being ‘race’).
If you haven’t already read my post titled ‘I am Black’ you can do so in your own time.
Blogging has been hard, because I don’t really have any ideas and it just seems weird to write when the world is expecting a lot from me.
I have been feeling pulled into many different directions. On one hand, I want to explore deeper and different content here on my blog and overall with my brand. On the other hand, I want to crawl into my bed, shut the doors and sleep for 10 hours. With everything going on right now I feel like I need to lend my voice somehow to the world, especially because this is a passion of mine.
However, I am scared of saying the wrong thing. I am scared of not being accepted and I am scared of not being ready.
Even with the content I am producing right now, I am unsure of it because it is way out of comfort zone and it is more personal.
It has to do with my faith, something I have wanted to keep to myself. My relationship with God is not perfect, but the main thing I love about it is how it is just me and Him. It is father and daughter exploring life together.
This may sound strange because there are many many elements involved in a personal relationship with God, but I love the intimacy I have with Him.
I love it so much I have wanted to hide it from the world. Thinking that if people wanted to find out about Him they would so through their own journey.
I had this belief that people didn’t need to know about God through me, they can find someone else, someone more qualified.
Little did I know that this is not what the Gospel is about. It doesn’t matter how perfect you think you may or may not be, it is about the Holy Spirit who dwells inside you, preparing you to share the message of Christ.
I am now deciding to be more open about my relationship with my redeemer, best friend, comforter, peace, joy and love of my life, Jesus Christ.
I am terrified, but I know the Lord is on my side and I hope you will all join me on this journey as I create more Christ centred posts and content.
This doesn’t mean I won’t have my usual posts to do with beauty, fashion and feminism. There is no way I can ignore these passions of mine, but I am going to be more intentional with my faith posts, as opposed to just sticking it somewhere randomly in a blog-post.
It is time to make room for the Father who gave me this voice.
I am so sorry for this very long introduction, but it was necessary to explain some things.
Today is about Bible journaling.
Towards the end of last year, I decided to make the Bible a priority in my life. I decided to try and study it daily as opposed to reading and highlighting the verse of the day, thinking it would make a difference to my life.
My beautiful mother brought me a journal Bible. I looked up Youtube videos on how to journal, started to pray to God for the desire to delight in His Word and opened the New Testament.
This sounds so easy right?
I hate to inform you it hasn’t been easy at all. It has been a JOURNEY with lots of ups and downs.
Before deciding to really study the Bible, I was struggling a lot with the concept of this 'Holy book!'
Seeing this huge book full of old stories and hard lessons was daunting. Whenever my mum would ask: ‘if I had read my Bible today,’ I would roll my eyes and reply:
“Mum I don’t want to read my Bible just because you tell me to, I want to read my Bible when I feel like it.”
I don’t know what type of secret prayers my mum did behind closed doors, because something convicted me to read the Bible and since then it has been life-changing.
However, I have learnt overtime that I cannot always wait for something to convict me or pull me towards the Bible. I need to be disciplined enough to pick it up daily even when I don’t feel like it.
This is one of the many things I have struggled with when it comes to studying my Bible.
One of the things that has helped me massively throughout is journaling in my Bible.
I am a writer, so writing things down is the best way for me to learn, writing has somehow become a sport for me.
A couple of months back I put a poll up on my Instagram (Esther_Okusaga) asking whether people wanted to see how I studied my Bible.
The response leaned greatly towards a ‘YES.’
I want to share the ‘journaling aspects’ first because this is one of my greatest study tools.
Let’s begin shall we?
!!! You don’t have to be a writer to journal in your Bible.
A great misconception about bible journaling is that you have to be a writer in order to do it.
Journaling is about writing down the thoughts in your mind, it is about expressing your feelings. It is not about creating the next bestseller…
Even though I am a writer, I don’t approach my Bible like this. I approach it with a willingness to learn from the Holy Spirit.
It is not about what I am personally adding to it, but what I am learning from it and how I am being transformed by the scriptures.
Please don’t think your Bible has to be so pretty and neat. God is not looking at your nice or horrible handwriting. He is looking at your heart.
HOW TO START:
1. Just start.
Sounds stupid doesn’t it??
But it is honestly that simple. Open a scripture/chapter you have been reading, grab a pen and highlighter and get ready to write.
You are probably wondering what it is you are supposed to write.
· Who is speaking in the text?
· The relevant historical context for the passage
· How does it make you feel? Confused, amazed, angry… even if you don’t understand or agree with the text write that down and later on pray over it!
· Write anything that may help you apply the message to your life.
· Write down any links to other chapters/scriptures.
· Summarise what you have just read into something simpler and shorter.
2. Be honest.
When it comes to Bible journaling you must not hide anything you are feeling.
You wouldn’t hide your thoughts in your diary would you? So do the same with the Bible.
This is definitely something I struggled with when I started journaling, because I wanted every thought to be perfect and pretty. But now I try to write down everything I am feeling.
If I am feeling confused, I write down my questions. If I am feeling amazed, I write down my amazement. If I don’t feel anything in the passage, I try my best not to write just anything because I want my Bible to look ‘full.’
3. Rely on the Holy Spirit.
This is probably the most important point. You need the help of the Holy Spirit.
He will guide you through the scriptures, sometimes when I am journaling in my Bible I think I am noting down my own thoughts, it is not me holding the pen but rather the Holy Spirit.
This is why it is so important to pray before you read the Bible (something I will talk about more in detail when I do a blog post on ‘how I study my Bible’).
4. Be Creative
When I say 'creative,' I mean you should do what makes you feel comfortable.
Some people draw in their Bible, there are some amazing creations I have seen on Instagram (it makes me wish I could draw/paint).
I think a lot of times we see the Bible as a really sacred text. Yes it is sacred, but this doesn't mean you cannot be creative with it. If you feel to express your love for a scripture or chapter through a drawing or calligraphy, please do so!
On the other hand, if you are more like me and feel like highlighting or using coloured pens is enough, this is fine also. Your Bible is personal to YOU.
5. LAST STEP: Take your time.
For some of you reading this it will be very natural for you to start journaling in your Bible. For others, you will find it difficult and perhaps frustrating.
This is completely fine because it is a journey. One day you can have no notes on your passage and other days you may run out of space because you have written so much. God is not looking at how many notes you have written, He is looking at how you are going to apply it to your life and He is looking at how you are going to let it transform you.
Take your time, take it slow and don’t put pressure on yourself.
If you don’t have a journal Bible, I have put a link to mine below: (there are many others, buy the one that you are comfortable with).
You will also need some highlighters, pens and coloured pens (all of which you can find on Amazon).
You may also need post-stick notes for extra notes you want to make or want to use when you have run out of space.
One Youtube Channel that really inspired me to start journaling in my Bible was ‘Coffee and Bible Time.’ This channel is run by two amazing young girls in American teaching women to delight in the Word, please check them out!!!
Instagram accounts I follow:
I hope you have enjoyed this blog-post and I really hope it has taught you something new.
Look out for more blog-posts on: ‘How I study my Bible’ and ‘Finding God in the secret place.’
God bless you all.
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